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"Firearms for TEOTWAWKI"-(PDF Book Under Construction)

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There are several additional carbine-type options for consideration as Defensive Rifles.  Like the ARs, AKs, SKSs, and Minis they too are thought of by some as "intermediate" rifles rather than true "Battle Rifles".  Here are some brief overviews of a few more before we move on to the heavier calibers:

Adapted from Wikipedia

1. M-1 Carbine

The M1 Carbine (formally the United States Carbine, Caliber .30, M1) is a lightweight semi-automatic carbine that became a standard firearm in the U.S. military during World War II and the Korean War, and was produced in several variants. It was widely used by U.S. and foreign military and paramilitary forces, and has also been a popular civilian firearm.  A pistol variant is also available from Iver Johnson Arms. 

The M1 carbine is still in use today by many civilian shooters and police around the world. The .30 Carbine cartridge is used for a number of types of hunting, including white-tailed deer, but is definitely underpowered for larger North American game such as elk, moose, and bear. Some U.S. states prohibit use of the cartridge for hunting deer and larger animals due to a lessened chance of killing an animal in a single shot, even with expanding bullets. The carbine is prohibited for hunting in several states such as Pennsylvania because of the semi-automatic function, and Illinois which prohibits all non-muzzleloading rifles for big game hunting. The .30 carbine cartridge and the M1 carbine are suitable for the same game targeted with the .32-20 Winchester and .32 Winchester Self-Loading cartridges and the hunting arms made in those calibers.

WHATZ NOTES: This used to be an inexpensive option as a short-ranged defensive carbine but in recent years they have shot up in value.  Not only that, but finding reasonably-priced ammo these days can be difficult.  If you do choose to go this route, take a look at the Civilian Marksmanship Program which sells military surplus versions for below market value (although you must qualify under a number of their conditions).  As far as usefulness in a defensive situation the .30 carbine cartridge can be thought of as roughly comparable to a .357 magnum.

2. Galil (and Golani variants)

Adapted from Wikipedia

The Galil (pronounced /gæ?li??l/) is a family of Israeli small arms designed by Yisrael Galili and Yaacov Lior in the late 1960s and produced by Israel Military Industries Ltd (now Israel Weapon Industries Ltd) of Ramat HaSharon. The weapon system consists of a 5.56 mm line chambered for the intermediate 5.56x45mm NATO caliber with either the M193 or SS109 ball cartridge and several 7.62 mm models designed for use with the 7.62x51mm NATO rifle round.

The Galil’s design is optimized for operation in arid conditions and is based on the Finnish RK 62,[1] which itself was derived from the Soviet AK-47 assault rifle. It was selected as the winner of a competition for the Israel Defense Forces that included many other rival designs (among them, the M16A1, Stoner 63, AK-47 and HK33) and was formally accepted into service in 1972, replacing the dust-sensitive FN FAL.

There are four basic configurations of the Galil: the standard rifle-length AR (Assault Rifle), a carbine variant known as the SAR (Short Assault Rifle), a compact MAR (Micro Assault Rifle) version, and an ARM (Assault Rifle and Machine gun) light machine gun.

WHATZ NOTES: Based on a number of features from early 'true' assault rifle designs the Galil is a well-respected entry into the civilian semi-auto Defensive Rifle market.  For a long time they were much more expensive than other options, but the recent Golani versions seem comparable in price to an AK or Mini-14.  Magazines and other accouterments are typically much more expensive, however, than items for the more popular AR and AK models, but the Galil is considered to be a dependable design that might serve your needs well.

3. Daewoo .223/5.56mm

Adapted from Wikipedia

Semi-automatic export versions of the Korean K2 assault rifle were sold as the DR-100 and DR-200, chambered in .223 Remington beginning in the 1980s. 

WHATZ NOTES: The Daewoo can be encountered occasionally as an option in the "intermediate" range of Defensive Rifle.  The author doesn't know enough about them to recommend them or not recommend them, but they might be worth evaluating.  Most people consider them to be good quality devices, but spare parts are often an issue for less popular firearms. 

Two other options that are available in either very old or recently re-introduced versions are the AR-18/AR-180, basically an improvement on the original AR-15 and the Steyr AUG, a unique science fiction-looking bullpup design.  Both are in .223/5.56mm and although significantly less-common than the others we've covered have their fans.  A simple internet search will provide some basic information on these two designs. 



While the author is quite happy with considering "intermediate" calibers for most defensive needs (hey, if it's good enough for our military...) there are many who believe in larger calibers such as the .308/7.62mm NATO, 30/06, Russian 7.62x54mmR due to their heavier-hitting ability and penetration of cover (like car doors).  Here are a few options you might consider.  In general, they fire a much heavier bullet (up to 3x the mass) and have greater range than the previously mentioned carbine calibers like .223 and 7.62x39mm.  


Adapted from Wikipedia

The M1A is a civilian version of the United States military M14 rifle designed by Springfield Armory, Inc. in 1974. It is designed for semi-automatic fire only and cannot be modified to fully-automatic or selective fire. Certain variants of the M1A resemble the M21 Sniper Weapon System in design and appearance.

WHATZ NOTES: Well-loved by many preppers, the M1A is an accurate, rugged, and dependable option in the so-called "Battle Rifle" category.  The .308 cartridge is very similar to the old 30/06 but smaller so you can carry more of them.  Advanced variants are being produced like the SOCOM version which also has tactical rails and other features desired by the more tactical minded.


Adapted from Wikipedia

The Fusil Automatique Léger (Light Automatic Rifle) or FAL is a 7.62x51 NATO self-loading, selective fire rifle produced by the Belgian armaments manufacturer Fabrique Nationale de Herstal (FN) during the Cold War, and adopted by many North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) countries. It has also been adopted by many other nations for their armed forces and has proven to be a popular civilian rifle for hunting and sport shooting. The FN FAL was also produced under license in many of the adopting countries. Because of its prevalence and widespread use among the armed forces of many Western and other non-Communist countries during the Cold War, it was nicknamed "the right arm of the Free World".  The civilian version is semi-automatic only.

WHATZ NOTES: The author has fired the FN FAL and actually found them to be fun to shoot, accurate and dependable but with surprising recoil for a semi-automatic despite being relatively heavy.  However, despite their expense they are proven designs and there is no questioning the success of their assault rifle brethren around the world.  If you can afford one they are definitely worth the price, assuming you are set on including one of the more powerful caliber Defensive Rifles in your portfolio.

M1 Garand

Adapted from Wikipedia

The M1 Garand (officially the United States Rifle, Caliber .30, M1) was the first semi-automatic rifle to be generally issued to the infantry of any nation. In 1936, it officially replaced the bolt-action M1903 Springfield as the standard service rifle of the United States Armed Forces and was subsequently replaced by the selective-fire M14 in 1957. However, the M1 continued to be used in large numbers until 1963 and to a lesser degree until 1966.

The M1 was used heavily by U.S. forces in World War II, the Korean War, and, to a limited extent, the Vietnam War. Most M1 rifles were issued to American Army and Marine troops, though many thousands were also lent or provided as foreign aid to America's allies. The Garand is still used by drill teams and military honor guards. It is also widely sought by the civilian population as a hunting rifle, target rifle, and military collectible. The name "Garand" is pronounced variously as [g??rænd] or [?gær?nd]. According to experts and people who knew John Garand, the latter version is preferred.[3][4]

WHATZ NOTES: The "Best battlefield implement ever devised" according to General Patton, the Garand is still popular over sixty years after the end of World War II.  Although limited to eight rounds using the 'en bloc' system, with the powerful 30/06 round the Garand is still a high-performing option for a heavier Defensive Rifle.  They are especially worth considering if one of your Working/Hunting Rifles is also in 30/06.  As mentioned previously with the M1 Carbine, Garands are available through the Civilian Marksmanship Program at greatly reduced rates.  


Adapted from Wikipedia

The AR-10 is an American 7.62 mm battle rifle developed by Eugene Stoner in the late 1950s at ArmaLite, then a division of the Fairchild Aircraft Corporation. The rifle had some innovative features at the time of its introduction (1956); it was over 1 lb (0.45 kg) lighter than most other infantry rifles, it was significantly easier to control in automatic fire, was more accurate in semi-auto mode, and arguably handled better than any other weapon of the period. The unique features of the AR-10 would eventually be developed into the U.S. Army's M16. Over its production life, the original AR-10 was built in relatively small numbers, with fewer than 10,000 rifles assembled.

WHATZ NOTES: The precursor to the AR-15, the AR-10 has been updated and is once again available for sale.  If you like the basic "feel" of the AR-15 but desire the more powerful .308/7.62mm NATO then the AR-10 might be an option.  However, expect to pay double the cost of an AR-15 and parts and accessories will be correspondingly more as well.

SAIGA .308

Adapted from Wikipedia

The Saiga is a Kalashnikov-pattern weapon available in a wide range of configurations and calibers. Like the Kalashnikov rifle variants, it is a rotating bolt, gas-operated gun that feeds from a box magazine.

WHATZ NOTES: Considering it is based on the old AK design family, the Saiga has drawn a lot of interest for preppers.  Available in .223, .308 and 7.62x38mm as well as shotgun gauges, the Saiga has a lot going for it, but standard capacity (so-called "hi cap") magazines are significantly more expensive than those of the original AKs and parts seem to be less available too.  Still, they are much cheaper than most of the .308/7.62 NATO options and might be worth looking at for that reason alone.  The author has handled Saigas at the local firearms specialty botique, but has not fired them so you are encouraged to explore them on your own if they appear to fill a need in your tool collection.


Adapted from Wikipedia

The SVD (Russian: Snayperskaya Vintovka Dragunova, lit. "Dragunov sniper rifle") is a semi-automatic sniper rifle chambered in 7.62x54mmR and developed in the Soviet Union.  The SVD is a semi-automatic gas-operated rifle with a short-stroke gas-piston system. The barrel breech is locked through a rotating bolt (left rotation) and uses three locking lugs to engage corresponding locking recesses in the barrel extension. The rifle has a manual, two-position gas regulator. The weapon is fed from a curved box magazine with a 10-round capacity and the cartridges are double-stacked in a checker pattern. After discharging the last cartridge from the magazine, the bolt carrier and bolt are held back on a bolt catch that is released by pulling the cocking handle to the rear. The rifle has a hammer-type striking mechanism and a manual lever safety selector. The rifle's receiver is machined to provide additional accuracy and torsional strength. The SVD receiver bears a number of similarities to the AK action, such as the large dust cover, iron sights and lever safety selector, but these similarities are primarily cosmetic in nature.

WHATZ NOTES: Quite expensive these days, these interesting-looking rifles are supposed to be very accurate but their prohibitive cost makes them more of a collector's investment than a preppers.  However, if you do pick one up, consider also grabbing a couple of the much cheaper Mosin-Nagants in the same caliber.  (We will discuss the Mosins a bit later).  

Although I have clearly not covered everything available (not to mention that Pulse Rifles, Phased Plasma Rifles, and blasters haven't yet been invented) I hope that I have given you at least an overview of what is out there and some brief comparative thoughts about the purposes they can serve.  At the same time, I would like to offer some alternatives to the typical semi-auto that might better serve your purposes if you happen to be in a unique situation due to the state you live in or cost considerations.


LEVER ACTIONS (like 30/30 Marlin/Winchester, etc.)

Adapted from Wikipedia

A lever-action is a type of firearm action which uses a lever located around the trigger guard area (often including the trigger guard itself) to load fresh cartridges into the chamber of the barrel when the lever is worked. One of the most famous lever-action firearm is undoubtedly the Winchester rifle, but many manufacturers- notably Marlin and Savage- also produce lever-action rifles. Mossberg produces the 464 in centerfire .30-30 and rimfire .22.

WHATZ NOTES: So you're probably thinking, "A lever action for a Defensive Rifle?  He can't be serious."  Well actually, considering the ubiquitous nature of the old 'cowboy rifle' and its relatively innocent looking appearance there are times a simple lever action might be perfect for your needs.  And just about any store/bartering hole in America is likely to have 30/30 ammo, if they have any.  For those reasons, you might consider a 30/30 as a backup to your main Defensive Rifle, or as your primary weapon if you can't afford a fancier "sport utility rifle".  More on the 30/30 in the Working/Hunting Firearms section.

TACTICAL BOLT ACTIONS (such as Remington 700s, Winchester 70s, and Ruger M77s)

Adapted from Wikipedia

The term bolt action refers to a type of firearm action in which the weapon's bolt is operated manually by the opening and closing of the breech with a small handle, most commonly placed on the right-hand side of the weapon. As the handle is operated, the bolt is unlocked, the breech is opened, the spent shell casing is withdrawn and ejected, and finally a new round/shell (if available) is placed into the breech and the bolt closed. Bolt action firearms are most often rifles, but there are some bolt-action shotguns and a few handguns as well. Examples of this system date as far back to the 19th century, notably in the Dreyse needle gun. From the late 19th century, all the way through both World Wars, the bolt-action rifle was the standard infantry firearm for most of the world's militaries.

WHATZ NOTES: While bolt actions are quite commonplace in the Working/Hunting Rifle category, few people think of them as Defensive Rifle options.  While most sporters are not designed to fire off a lot of rounds in an engagement, if the ranges are opened enough they can serve a duel purpose as standoff weapons to keep bad guys away.  However, due to their tighter tolerances and susceptibility to overheating it is necessary to use them differently than other Defensive Rifles.  Still, if you can't afford a "sport utility rifle" or prefer the more innocuous look, then take a look at the options available.  You could do a whole lot worse.


WHATZ NOTES: While there are several rifles that fit into this category, such as the 1903, 1917, British .303, Mausers, etc. the current top choice due to its low cost is the Russian Mosin-Nagant.  Shooting the same 7.62x54R caliber as the previously mentioned Dragunov SVD, the Mosin-Nagant is available in a rather lengthy standard version and a much shorter M44 carbine.  The ammunition also remains fairly cheap and is comparable to a 30/06.  1903 Springfields are still available through the aforementioned Civilian Marksmanship Program, and you can often find .303 SMLEs and Mausers for a bargain.  If you can afford to go with a modern semi-auto then that is probably your best option, but don't overlook grabbing a couple of these older designs on the cheap with some ammo and stashing them away as backups.  At the very least, you'll have some good barter items for down the road. 

Heavy G:
Way frickin' cool thread.  Should really help people.  A definite "best of" thread.

(This thread has been selected as a “best of” thread by Heavy G.  You can search for “best of” threads by using that term in the search mode.  Everyone on the forum is encouraged to reply to a post they think is “best of” worthy so we can all search for them.  For more information on the “best of” thing, see )

P.S.  This is a work in progress, so you'll cover .22s, shotguns, and handguns, right?

Just a suggestion here take it as that & nothing more.

In order to keep this work in progress as uncluttered as possible, send your suggestions & or questions to whatzhizname via PM.  That way he can compose & answer them in a manner consistent with the intent of this thread.

The board mods/admins will try to keep the thread as uncluttered as possible so as to make the thread as easily readable as possible, but it would help us immensely if you all could conduct the questions/suggestions part off thread.  If someone would like to start a discussion thread in reference to this informational thread, that would be great too.

I'll leave the extraneous questions & comments for the moment so everyone has a chance to check in & see what's going on then I'll delete them in a day or two so the thread only contains the future pdf content. 

I've split the discussion parts of this post off into it's own thread.  You can find it Here



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